Trends in Indoor and Outdoor Living

    Indoor Living Trends

    In the last few years Erika McPherson Powell of Urban Grace Interiors noticed a trend that may stem from the minimalist movement, however, she has noticed that people desire less clutter in their kitchens and throughout their homes.

    Butler’s Pantry

    Houses being designed from the ground up are incorporating dedicated space to an actual butler’s pantry, or ‘scullery’. Maybe we’ve all watched too much Downton Abbey or, perhaps we simply desire our kitchens to be one less place for clutter to settle in and take over. We fully support this ‘less is more’ mentality when it comes to designing butler pantries as we see first-hand the functionality they give our clients. Our clients use this dedicated space as an additional “clean up zone,” typically complete with an extra sink and dishwasher. Recently we’ve moved major appliances into this space to streamline the kitchen. Housing the fridge, microwave, and coffee maker in addition to the food pantry, countertop appliances, and all those extra kitchen “things” that don’t necessarily need to be in the proper kitchen, butler’s pantries play a vitally useful role in today’s kitchen design.

    All this to say, a butler’s pantry functionality is truly limitless. Ranging from the ability to simply store additional dinnerware to hosting an entire slew of appliances, this room is a work horse that is not going away anytime soon!

    Author of Butler’s Pantry : Erika McPherson Powell of Urban Grace Interiors located at 1027 Bay Drive in Santa Rosa Beach. She can be reached at 850-231-9916 or Learn more about these and other products at

    Outdoor Living Trends

    Susan Kiley of Bay Breeze Patio shares that outdoor living has become increasing popular over the last decade. Each year, we enjoy watching the evolution of products that cater to those who enjoy spending time outdoors with the comforts and conveniences enjoyed inside the home.

    As we enter late summer and early fall, trends begin emerging In the Casual Furniture Industry. Each year, more than 250 companies from around the globe converge in Chicago for The International Casual Furniture Market.  Here are some of the “hot” new trends that are emerging for outdoor living:



    Teak is back with a vengeance.  Teak as a category had become almost dormant for a few years but it enjoying a new resurgence. Straight teak, teak mixed with sling fabric, teak accents on aluminum or outdoor wicker, the combinations are endless and gaining popularity with consumers for its natural wood appearance. Teak, which is harvested through environmentally sound methods from FSC forests, is making its way into all kinds of furniture manufacturers.  And while teak still requires a lot of work to keep its natural color, customers like knowing about the organic harvesting of the material and enjoy the fresh natural look.

    Mixed Media

    Combining materials has been an ongoing trend for a few years.  Whether it’s combining outdoor wicker with wood, cast aluminum with wicker, composite with sling, or brushed stainless steel with wood, the options are endless. There are many ways to combine materials to give a piece of furniture texture and style. Fully-upholstered furniture for the outdoors was soaring a few years ago but has slowed due to the maintenance involved in keeping the fabric clean outdoors. This year’s trend is embracing upholstered furniture mixed with other materials to accomplish an organic feel with less maintenance.


    Composite is made up of 100% resin, and at one time was used mainly with Adirondack Chairs. Today, composite is everything from Adirondacks to dining to cushioned deep seating and chaise lounges.  This trend is one of the fastest growing in the U.S.  Most manufacturers are offering warranties of 20 years minimum.  At the beach, composite can be the most practical choice for its durability. At Bay Breeze Patio, we stock three manufacturers in composite and they produce 52 different colors among them. With warranties from 20 years to lifetime, composite can make life along the coast easier.


    Sectionals started trending about five years ago but have really come into their own in the last two years.  Every manufacturer we work with has found a way to turn existing lines into sectional lines.  Sectionals are all about space and coziness.  While outdoor wicker is the material of choice, we are starting to see more aluminum, wood and composite sectionals.  Sectionals provide the ultimate gathering spot. 

    Outdoor Kitchens 

    In most of the country homeowners can only dream of a fabulous outdoor kitchen.  On the Emerald Coast, it is very much a reality.  Consumers today in this market are building bigger and better outdoor kitchens and the outdoor appliance manufacturers are making it easier and more hassle free.  Outdoor appliances have to be built – just like outdoor furniture – to hold up to the harsher elements of our environment. A grill is just the beginning of an outdoor kitchen.  Additional burners, refrigerators, kegerators, ice machines, dish washers, pizza ovens, Teppanyaki Griddles, fireplaces and fire pits are all built around a variety of cabinetry choices, making the outdoor kitchen customized to each homeowner.

    One of the joys of our day is working with clients to create the perfect outdoor living space for their porch, patio, deck or backyard.  We love a challenge and enjoy that every project is different.

    Author: Susan Kiley is co-owner at Bay Breeze Patio, located at 32 Forest Shore Drive, Miramar Beach, FL (one mile west of Silver Sands Premium Outlets). She can be reached at 850-269-4666 or Learn more about these and other products at